She says food literacy is vital to enable consumers to choose, prepare, and consume a healthy diet but the number of sources of different information available can be confusing and contradictory.
“Our idea with Healthy Balance is to attempt to help redress that by presenting evidence-based information on healthier food in an easy-to-read format,” Rich says.
So far, the website includes two video series written by dietician and registered nutritionist Nikki Hart. In the first, she talks about creating an energy gap, how to shop smarter, how to balance snacks and treats, and eating the right foods to live longer. While in the second, she explains what to eat for breakfast, fad diets, processed foods and how to use the new Health Star Rating system.
The videos are based on the Ministry of Health’s National Food and Nutrition Guidelines and Rich says they make an excellent resource to help people reach informed decisions about the right foods to eat.
She adds it is particularly interested in lowering obesity rates of children and supports the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, which aims to prevent and manage obesity in children and young people up to 18 years.
According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand has the third largest obesity rate in the OECD, with one in three adults obese and one in 10 children.
The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council is working to play its part in lowering these numbers, with the new website as well as the roll-out of the Health Star Rating system in New Zealand and Australia, product reformulation, and community activities and education.